Friday, March 7, 2014
Iron Man 3. B-
The only real interest I had in the third Iron Man was that it was co-written and directed by Shane Black. Black was one of the more electric Hollywood screenwriters in the 80s and 80s, penning a number colorful action movies, like Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight. He then directed his first film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which came out in 2005, and was a sort of summation of why he's such a fun figure in Hollywood. He's incessantly witty, has great jokes to spare, plus he knows how to work up a good plot and also handle drama such that it never gets too mawkish. Really, then, he was the ideal man for Iron Man 3, and plus it helped that he had already worked with Robert Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (at times Tony Stark seems almost like a carryover from the character he played in that film). Everything one would hope Black would bring to the film he does. The jokes and references are fantastic, and the combination of his dry wit with the darkness of the plot create an Iron Man experience that doesn't feel like it's just feeding off of what made the previous installments in the series work so well. The main problem then is just how stupid the movie is outside of the Shane Black moments (luckily there are a lot of them, but this is a two-plus hour movie, so it has to try to deliver in other areas as well, especially since as a tentpole blockbuster, most of the viewers of this don't even know who Black is). Whenever Black is going outside of his comfort zone, the movie is essentially looking for excuses to deliver spectacle. Why else would Tony Stark offer his home address to the world, or why would his suit be so unreliable when at this point it should be better than it's ever been? It's also disappointing that the main opposition in nearly all the action scenes are between Stark and villains who possess the Extremis virus (it essentially makes them stronger and more durable, and also fire-breathing glow freaks that look like they came out of a bad Paul Bettany action movie). Still, I liked the film; it's a mess, but then again Black's never been known for tidiness. He delivers what I hoped he would, but a few alterations would have made it possibly great rather than just passable.